You can bet that if there was food involved in any of my special memories, I can tell you all about it. The flavors, colors, and textures of everything from the sausage, biscuits and gravy that Grandma S made and the thick slices of ham on tortillas with mustard at Grandma I's house, to my Mama's lasagna that I always asked for on my birthday, to the stuffed shrimp I enjoyed when Charlie took me to his Senior prom, give great dimension to my happy past. Orange soda reminds me of the first time I had lunch at Charlie's apartment in college. Doctored up mac & cheese, oreos and milk, and 7 layer dip bring back memories of dear friendships in junior high and high school. York Peppermint Patties (my all time favorite candy) taste like Christmas.
I like to make a special treat occasionally on Thursdays, as it is milk delivery day (delicious, fresh, organic milk from a local dairy!) and nothing beats a nice cookie and a glass of milk during the afternoon slump. I have recently acquired copious amounts of Raisin Bran cereal and the 5 and under crowd tend to prefer oatmeal, fruit, and toast for breakfast. That leaves a ton of Raisin Bran for Charlie and me!
While surveying the contents of my pantry, I realized that I had all the ingredients for one of those foods that brings back my happy memories: Raisin Bran cookies! They are chewy on the inside and crispy around the edge. Their simplicity is one of their greatest attributes. When the first batch came out of the oven, I took advantage of the fact that if one is baking for others, one must "taste test" the product before serving it! As soon as I took that first bite, I had to go hide away in the stair case where the littles wouldn't hover. That bite seemed to transform time and place and I felt like a little girl in the comfort and warmth of my mother's kitchen.
I'd sit at the round table in the breakfast nook (where many great memories have been had!) and munch away on her cookies. I'd swipe them off the counter by the fridge where she placed them on layers of newspaper and paper towel to cool. I'd hope she didn't notice how many I had eaten!
It almost brought tears to my eyes as I watched my gaggle of girls surround me and try their first tentative bites of new cookies. They exclaimed their approval, begged for more, and reminded me of how generations are connected...what joy!
What dishes bring back happy memories for you?
Mama's Raisin Bran Cookies
2 C Raisin Bran crushed to 1 1/2 C
2 C flour (can use 1 C white and 1 C wheat)
1 t baking soda
3/4 C softened butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2/3 C granulated sugar
1. Stir together cereal, flour, and soda. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour mixture. Drop onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake at 325* for 12-14 min.